A lifetime resident of the area, Howard Merkley passed away at Winchester District Memorial Hospital on Wed., July 24, 2013. He was 64.
Howard was born in Chesterville on Jan. 29, 1949 to his parents William and Alice Merkley (nee Myers). He was named after Dr. Howard Justus. His family moved to a farm east of Morewood in the late winter of 1953 when Howard was four- years-old.
Very early in life Howard learned to be a very good diplomat with a big smile because he had a demanding Dad, a hard working mother – and was in the middle of three older brothers (Jim, Wallace, Richard) and three younger brothers (Francis, Doug, and David), as well as an older brother (Gordon) who lived and worked with them. And for many years, his uncle Eric Myers also lived at the farm.
Howard grew up with his family members on a mixed farming operation that had dairy cattle – at one time three herds – Holsteins, Ayrshires and Jerseys, as well as draft horses, pigs, chickens and banties. Howard gained a lot of knowledge as he grew up regarding crops, cattle, weather patterns, techniques, and he always used a lot of plain common sense. He always insisted that John Deere tractors were the best in the world, and he was blessed with an excellent memory for detail regarding such topics as cow genealogy.
In 1999, the family members on the farm (made up of Richard, Howard and David, along with nephew Derek) decided to sell the farm. Derek continued on the farm, while Richard, David and Howard all retired. Howard’s retirement was short lived because less than one month after he retired he was back farming again doing relief milking, driving tractors, and sharing his knowledge with local farmers Glenn Smirle, Angus Crump and Sterling McElheran. With his years of farming experience, he had a lot of advice to share, and Howard always shared his advice in a low key, positive, but very authoritative way.
In addition to being a farmer, Howard made time to play sports as well. In the mid-seventies when the outdoor rink was built in Morewood, Howard became an avid broomball player and went on to play in local leagues for several years. Howard was always easy going, but when he had that broom in his hand, look out. He became a dedicated, determined player with a deadly shot!. It was dangerous to get in his way!. Howard also enjoyed watching all sports on TV, but his favourite was baseball.
Howard will be remembered as a loving husband, a caring and supportive father, and a wonderful, proud grandfather. He was a thoughtful, kind, caring, humble and easy-going man who possessed a wonderful smile. Howard was one-of-a-kind and made an impact on the lives of the many people that he knew and loved.
Howard is survived by his wife Bettyanne, his children Drew of Peterborough and April Merkley (Marc Bissonnette) of Ottawa, his siblings Jim (Barbara) of Morewood, Richard (Brigitte) of Winchester, Frank (Louise) of Orleans, Doug (Bev) of Winchester, and David (Carol) of Courtney, B.C. Howard will be fondly remembered by grandchildren Ethan and Chloe. He was predeceased by his sisters, Maxine Link and Dolores Moffat, and his brothers, Wallace and Gordon. He is also survived by nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home, Chesterville, on Friday from 2 to 4 & 7 to 9 pm. The funeral service was held at the funeral home on Sat., July 27th at 1 pm, with Rev. Christine Lowson officiating.
Interment followed at Reids Mills Cemetery.
Honorary pallbearers were Bill Smirle and Sterling McElheran. Pallbearers were Angus Crump, Glenn Smirle, Perry Carruthers, Brian Stewart, Bob Mattice, and Greg Hillis.
Donations to Dundas County Hospice or the Canadian Cancer Society would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.
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